Comments on Casual Friday post about gender and bathroom use

Commenting (and posting) on is going to be down starting at about 1 p.m. EST today. You can use this post for commenting on today’s Cognitive Daily Post.

If you ask nicely, I might even consider adding some additional data analysis here, since today’s post was cut a little short.

Update: I’m home by myself this evening, so I thought I’d do a little more analysis. We had a few commenters who suggested that it was only the uptight Americans who subscribed to the foolish notion that gender-separate restrooms are a good idea. So I thought it would be interesting to break down responses by where they are from. Although the vast majority of our visitors are from Canada and the U.S., the rest of the world, especially Europe, is still well-represented. Here’s a graph showing the likelihood of using an opposite-gender restroom broken down by where the respondent is from:

For the most part, the data from the rest of the world matches the US. We don’t have enough numbers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, or Australia/Oceania to establish significance. The numbers for European men verge on significance: they are somewhat less likely than American men to use the women’s room when there’s a long line at the men’s room.

If there’s anything else you’re curious about, just ask in the comments and I’ll see if I can get to it sometime over the weekend.

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7 Responses to Comments on Casual Friday post about gender and bathroom use

  1. Yes, I guessed it (results) would be more interesting, like multi-tab browsing survey… Anyways, can understand it’s due to site-maintenance issues, I gues… Hope to see detailed results/charts/tables soon… Anyways, I enjoy participating both surveys, cheers!!

  2. Paws says:

    I can’t help but wonder if men are less likely to use the women’s restroom because they stand a greater chance of legal repercussions than does a woman in a men’s restroom. Such a double-standard is asinine, of course, but there are a number of situations in which a man would be arrested for a sex-related crime, whereas a woman in identical circumstances probably wouldn’t be. Public indecency, lewd behavior, or fondling a stranger, for instance.
    And let’s not forget all the jurisdictions in which there are *still* laws on the books prohibiting men from using profanity in front of women and children…but with no analogous law restricting female speech.
    It’s gender discrimination, plain and simple!

  3. Kevin says:

    So… what the heck is being said by those tables? The correlation between restaurants and parks for men is .57 ? I’m confused.

    What I found most interesting here is that women are more likely to use public restrooms (is it because they just go to the bathroom more often?). I found this somewhat strange because I’ve heard of lots more women with irrational fears of public bathrooms than men (who avoid them like the plague). Also surprising that more women would go camping without a bathroom than men, if that’s what the table is saying.

  4. dave says:


    Sorry, those tables aren’t labeled very clearly (and of course I can’t edit them right now). The questions were “how likely are you to use a public restroom in a city park?” and “how likely are you to use a restroom in a restaurant?”

    The strong correlation makes sense — people who are willing to use a restroom in a park are more likely to be willing to use a restroom in a restaurant.

    Are women are more likely to use public restrooms in general? The data doesn’t actually support that, except in a couple of instances — and remember that we specified that the need to use a restroom was “urgent” in every case. So we don’t know if women actually do use public restrooms more than men, because the need to use a restroom isn’t always urgent.

  5. dc says:

    Am I alone in disliking the euphemism ‘restroom’? ‘Bathroom’ is even worse. What’s wrong with calling it a toilet?

  6. Dave says:

    dc: Where are you from? In the U.S., it’s rarely called a toilet. Bathroom is casual and Restroom is a little more formal.

  7. Another factor is that (due to the fact that men can urinate much more quickly than women) is that waits tend to be longer for women’s public restrooms. It is not unusual for there to be a line for the ladies room while the men’s room is empty, but the reverse is very rare. I don’t know if that contributes much to the psychology, but if there’s any truth behavior based psychology, then it does some. (Because of opportunity, more women will have “broken the rule”, meaning more women will have rationalized the behavior to themselves, meaning more women will be okay with it.

    Here in the US, the word ‘toilet’ generally refers to the porcelain bowl where you sit and make your deposit, and not the room in which it is located. But words can be funny. I believe it was George Carlin who observed that when you take a bathroom break while traveling on the highway, you use the “Restrooms” while your dog uses the “Exercise Area”

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